Spring comes, and it’s time to think about waking up the greenhouse for the new growing season.
We asked our gardening experts for advice about how to get your spring garden off to a good start. Here are a few of the suggestions:
- Testing your soil and removing weeds
- Choosing seeds suitable for your climate zone
- Applying compost, mulch, and fertilizer
Owen Mosser from TheGolden.com
Spring is an excellent time to be active in your garden. With the proper care, you can make your garden healthy and grow plants properly.
One of the first things you need to do to prepare your garden for spring is to remove weeds. This way, you can tidy up space for your plants and flowers to grow.
The most effective way you can get rid of weeds is through hand weeding. Pull out weeds while they are young so you can stop them from spreading in your lawn.
It is also essential that you re-energize the soil to get ready for spring. Once the winter frost has lifted, your soil will be workable. This is an excellent time to prepare your garden beds.
Here are some of the common spring gardening tasks you need to do:
- Prune old plants – Old shrubs and trees will need to be pruned during this time of the year.
- Prepare new garden beds – The best time to start is late winter or early spring. Don’t add more plants, though, so your existing plants will have enough room to grow.
- Apply fertilizer – Enrich the soil with nutrients.
- Add mulch – Stop weeds from growing in your garden.
- Do a thorough spring inspection. Look for damage on plants or damage caused by animals.
- Deal with hardscaping issues. This is the best time to fix damaged retaining walls.
- Divide perennials and transplant shrubs. Split plants so they have enough room to grow.
- Test your garden soil. Test your garden soil every 3-5 years to make sure you supply it with the nutrients and organic materials it needs.
- Feed your soil. Topdress soil with 1 or 2 inches of compost, hummus, and manure just before the bulbs start to emerge.
- Prune some woody shrubs and trees. Take out anything that has been damaged by winter, ice, snow, and cold.
Take cover once freezing temperatures are in the forecast. Use old sheets or towels instead of plastic sheets or tarp.
Gina Harper from Harper’s Nurseries
I would check my tools and get them ready. Repair the damaged ones, or if there is no way to mend them, I will order a replacement online.
Next, I would start planning for the landscaping and the plants I will have this year. Sometimes I prefer making a few tweaks from my usual garden bed layout.
Then I would clear the grasses and weeds.
Lastly, I will get the soil ready. I would advise adding organic materials like compost.
I would do this in the mid to late spring: the first is to check my plants’ health. Are they free from pests? Do they look healthy?
Then I would make a record of which I can anticipate harvesting soon. There were times that I would still be planting crops such as garlic and onions. I make an elevated garden bed for them, although it is ideal to have them on the ground. But sometimes, you must do a bit of experiment to maximize your space and harvest.
Steve Sakala from Honaunau Farm
Well, given micro-organisms and the soil web are finally getting more recognition on the critical role they play, perhaps we can approach our garden from a more regenerative perspective.
I might suggest not turning or tilling the beds. This exposes microorganisms to sunlight and reduces the overall health of the soil. Let’s give the no-till method a try.
If weeds have become established, you can pull as many weeds by hand as possible and then cover the bed with some cardboard for a few weeks to prepare the soil and smother the weeds.
I recommend getting a friendly general organic fertilizer to amend with — something like a 5-5-5 (NPK) or 6-6-6. Remember, with organic granular fertilizer, you want to fertilizer about a month before planting.
It’s always nice to start the spring fresh and organized. Make sure you have the seeds ordered that you want to plant.
Seeds ran out fast here in Hawaii last March with the COVID scare, so you might need to think ahead and order seeds for spring planting.
It’s also nice to have your tools and seed trays cleaned and organized to start your gardening season.
Start more hardy seeds in the greenhouse or window seal. This is an excellent time to plan your garden rotation for the growing season.
As the soil starts to dry out, you can begin prepping the beds, fertilizing, and starting other seeds.
Depending on your climate zone, it time to start transplanting into the beds. Perennials or going to be hardier and can often be planted out earlier than annuals.
Elizabeth from Lavenderhomefront.com
The best thing to do in spring is clear out any brush or debris that settled in your garden over the winter. Decide next what you want to plant.
Then you must test your soil before anything else. This will determine what amendments need to be made before planting.
After you have your soil tested, make your necessary amendments needed. (This will depend on what plants you are going to plant.) I usually add compost that is about 2 years old, along with any needed amendment.
Some spring gardening tasks include clearing and preparing your gardening beds, containers, or plots for new seeds or transplants. As stated above, soil conditions are the most important aspect of gardening before you plant.
You will also need to make sure your watering system is working correctly. If you have a watering system in place, turn it on and make sure you don’t have any leaks or cracks.
Start your seeds indoors for those that need a head start. Plant extra seeds in case germination do not take place. Directly sow seeds that do best in cool weather and can germinate even if temperatures drop a bit.
Purchase perennials you want to plant, be sure to plan out what you want them and what you want to grow with them. Consider how companion planting can improve the health of your garden.
Clearing away debris and testing soil, along with planning what plants you want in your garden, is the first thing to do.
Also, start your seedlings indoors in early spring so that they grow large enough to reach maturity by late summer.
Plant cold-weather veggies to include cabbage, beets, peas, broccoli, kale, carrots.
Tend to your garden and your new seedlings in your home. Begin to plant flowers directly into the soil (annuals such as marigolds, zinnia, etc.) This helps bring pollinators to your garden.
Your early planted veggies should start bearing fruit, although they may not be ready to harvest yet.
Maintain weed control, watering schedule, and tending to your garden. Begin transplanting your seedlings as they grow large enough into your garden.
Now is the time to begin directly sowing seeds for warmer weather plants that cannot be started indoors, some of those include: corn and beans.
As you continue through the spring season, keep an eye on the needs of your plants, be sure to add support for plants that may need it, trellises for those that climb, additional water if you find that drainage is an issue, soil amendments if you find plants not able to thrive.
Keep a log of plant health and look out for pests and diseases. They usually aren’t much of a problem in spring but will become more of an issue in summer, and it’s vital to get ahead of it.
Jen Stark from Happy DIY Home
To start, clear out any dead branches or decaying items and layers of leaves or pine needles to give yourself a nice working space.
Next, you want to test your garden soil to see if you lack any nutrients or if you have to balance the pH levels. Once you get these results, you can take them to your local garden center and find the correct fertilizer to work into the soil to feed your plants.
In the early spring, take time to divide your perennials and plant any cool-season vegetables you want to have.
Peas, artichokes, potatoes, and some lettuce varieties need more excellent soil to grow.
In mid-spring, plant your annuals, and add new trees or shrubs. This is also the time to apply a mulch layer to the beds to help prevent weed growth and retain water.
You want to deadhead your annuals during late spring to encourage more growth and start your warm-season vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and herbs.
This is also the time to plant any bulbs or cuttings like dahlias or gladiolus, so they bloom later in the season.
Erinn Witz from SeedsandSpades.com
Getting the garden ready for the new growing season can feel exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time: So much to do at once!
But the best way to approach your spring garden prep is in stages. You’ll never regret the time you invest in planning rather than just jumping in when the urge strikes.
Don’t start too soon! It’s tempting to pull out the tiller the lawn rake on the first semi-warm day, but patience will pay off.
If you try to turn your soil too early, while there’s still moisture from frost in the ground, you could end up damaging your soil’s structure. This can lead to long-term soil compaction and drainage problems.
And let those remaining leaves and plant stems stay where they are until your local temperature stays consistently above 50 degrees during the day.
The larvae and eggs of beneficial garden insects are overwintering in those lawn debris, so don’t rake them up and throw them away!
- Finalize your garden plans
- Start a new garden journal
- Organize your storage shed or garage
- Clean, oil, and repair tools
- Start seeds indoors
- Hardscaping repairs/projects
Once all the frost has left the ground, and the soil is just slightly damp, it’s time to prepare your planting ground.
Remove any remaining plant matter from last year and add a layer of compost or well-rotted manure.
If you use a no-till method, you’re ready for planting. If you turn your soil every year, now’s the time to fire up the tiller.
You can start direct-sowing any crops that are appropriate for your local growing season, usually leafy greens, brassicas, radishes, lettuces, peas, and other cool-weather crops.
Hardy annual flowers can also go into the ground planters.
Lawn clean-up is another task to keep you busy in mid-spring. Wait to prune any flowering trees or shrubs until after flowering, but you can prune and trim leafy shrubs, trees, and bushes now.
As long as your local climate is warm enough, late spring is the perfect time to get those warm-weather crops going, be it by direct sowing or transplanting the seedlings you started indoors.
Summer annuals are also ready to brighten up your landscape.
Now the rush has mostly passed, and it’s time to settle into maintenance mode: watering, watching for pests/diseases, and harvesting.
Ashley Jones from DIYIdeaCenter.com
When planning your spring garden, it’s essential to consider what hardiness zone you live in. Hardiness zones help determine what plants will thrive best in your climate (determined by how well specific plants can withstand certain temperatures).
If you live in a climate that tends to have cooler spring weather, you can always start your seeds indoors before transplanting them outside. It’s effortless to build seedling pots from recycled newspapers, soil, and seeds.
New gardeners can struggle with how far apart to place their plants or garden in small spaces. Building a square foot gardening box or a raised garden bed can help make spring gardening easier.
Gardeners should tackle some tasks by planting season, including sharpening their gardening tools, researching how to deal with common garden pests such as aphids, and prepping their soil for planting.
I would also recommend starting a composting bin to turn their organic waste into fertilizer for their garden.
Dan Bailey from WikiLawn Austin Lawn Care
Make sure the last frost is definitely over before you start planting, and be sure the ground isn’t frozen. Till your gardening space to ensure fresh soil is brought to the surface and organic materials are dispersed throughout.
As mentioned above, you’ll need to till your garden. Some weeds still grow in the winter, too, so make sure you take care of those as well as any debris winter storms have knocked down.
These days, early spring is still a time to prepare. Plan out what you’re planting and ensure your soil is nutrient-rich and aerated. Mid-spring, you can plant so that by late-spring, you have everything settled and ready to grow.
If you have the right plan with valuable tips, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of labor fruits without having to spend a lot of time tending. We hope our article is helpful for you.
See you in our next posts!